Auto Transport: Road versus Rail

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Auto Transport: Road versus Rail

Auto Transport: Road versus Rail

When shipping a car over a long distance, you look at the options available. Also, you weigh the cost as it must be within your budget. Since a car is one of the possessions you treasure most, you cannot afford to gamble with its safety. Bearing these plus other aspects in mind, you can ship it by road or by train. Both methods will benefit you, but they also have setbacks.

Here’s a look at the two available options:

Road transport

In this mode of shipping, your car moves from its current location to the one specified. You stand to benefit in the following ways:

  • Door-to-door delivery: Depending on your current as well as desired location, road auto shipping could be the only way available. You could be living in an area that is not reachable by sea or rail. Besides, loading a car and unloading it from a trailer is easy.
  • Economical: Road carriage costs are way below those of other modes of transport. This is because the process involved is just picking up your vehicle and taking it directly where it’s needed. There are no other channels in-between.
  • Convenience: Both you and the shipper have the discretion of deciding when the journey commences. Also, if you need an urgent dispatch, you can drive or have someone pick the car from anywhere.

Road shipping also has its downside:

  • Safety: There is the likelihood that your car could get damaged in case of an accident. Or get stolen.
  • Slow: Traffic congestions could affect the expected dispatch time.

A-1 Auto Transport can help you move your household goods nationwide. Call 888-509-3213 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote on interstate moving services.


Rail transport

The railroad company provides covered or open train carriers and has the following advantages:

  • Protection from the elements: Closed carrier railroad cars keep your vehicle safe from the weather. Your car arrives on the other end with no dirt and with its paintwork intact.
  • Zero wear and tear: Rail transport preserves your car’s lifespan. The less the distance driven, the more value your vehicle retains.
  • Energy efficiency: Trains have reduced carbon emissions as compared to trucks. By having your car shipped by train, you help contribute towards preservation of the environment.

The downside of using this mode of transport includes:

  • Route suppression: Unlike road carriage, trains are only constrained to areas with railroad tracks. You must use other modes of transportation to deliver or retrieve your automobile.
  • Cost: When you include the cost of delivery from a railway yard using a truck, freight train service can be costly.
  • Damage: Cars transported in open carriages usually get damaged especially where the train runs into severe weather such as during hailstorms and heavy snowfalls.

Road haulage is convenient and economical but can compromise on safety and speed. On its part, train transportation protects your car, reduces its wearing out and is friendly to the environment. However, trains are restricted to certain routes only. Besides, you need other modes of shipping to complete the delivery. Cost and efficiency are your best indicators when you must choose between the two.

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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